Thursday, December 6, 2012

“Freewill offering…..”

“Wash yourselves. Make yourselves clean.  Take your sinful actions from My eyes. Stop doing sinful things.   Learn to do good.  Look for what is right and fair.

Speak strong words to those who make it hard for people. Stand up for the rights of those who have no parents. Help the woman whose husband has died.”   Isa. 1:16-17 NLV

Isaiah the prophet reminds me that the God who never grows weary can and does grow weary.

A contradiction?   No!

God never grows physically “weary” but He does grow morally” weary. (Isa. 40:28,  1:14)   Nothing can exhaust the Lord’s energy, but my lame, empty sacrifice can cause Him to say: “I have had enough!”……… “I take no pleasure in [them]”…….. “I cannot endure [them]”………. “they have become a burden to Me.”  (Isa. 1:11, 13, 14)

Strong language!   But no stronger than the feelings God has toward any hypocrisy He finds in me.   He cannot tolerate the difference between a good sacrifice (legally) and a bad heart (spiritually).  

Neither can He tolerate the imbalance between a strong, loud profession and a phony life.   God’s weariness is His annoyance, He is never weary of receiving contrite sinners, but He tires of my “motional” Christianity without love.

To weary God is a serious matter; it can mean the death of my prayer life. 

 “Though you multiply prayers, I will not listen.”  (Isa. 1:15)    God will not join the game we are playing.   If we act and treat Him as if He is of little worth or importance, He will break His lines of communication with us and our prayers will become so much wasted air.

Thus, by playing it cool and casual, I may unconsciously abort many blessings God had planned to give me.   I cannot afford to be without His blessings; therefore, I must not offer Him shoddy love or lame devotion.

The kind of offering He yearns for is the “freewill” kind.

“I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.”   Psalm 54:6 TNIV


The Lord’s portion……..

“Kings and queens will serve you
and care for all your needs.
They will bow to the earth before you
and lick the dust from your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.
Those who trust in me will never be put to shame.”   Isaiah 49:23 NLT

The prodigal son in Luke 15 is God’s reminder to me of what happens when I say to Him, “Hands off my life!”  

That unfortunate son, by taking his inheritance and moving out, was saying to his father, “From now on I will be my own master.”  He denied his father the right to direct him, which in essence was a denial of his father’s love and integrity.

Every disobedient Christian is an unconscious blasphemer.   The moment I strike out for the far country, that moment I have condemned the character of God before the world.

The pity is that, in the long run, I do not hurt God, I only hurt myself.   The father’s reputation did not suffer, but the son wound up in the pigpen.

If I take my life into my own hands, I will be a candidate for the pigpen also.  The choice is mine: either the warmth of the Father’s house or else the cold, smelly, bleak wetness of the pigsty.

The prodigal son made another mistake: demanding his inheritance now, instead of waiting for his father’s time.   By his impatience the son plucked his inheritance while it was green, unready.

How often have I done that!  My craving nature has cried out, “Now, Lord, now!”  Then I discover my mistake and did not enjoy my portion at all.  If only I had waited!

I must learn never to snatch from God’s hands His daily care, guidance and provision for my life.  I must not say, “Lord, give me what is mine,” but Lord, give me only what is Yours.”

The difference is peace!   Further, when I “wait” on the Lord, I shall never be “put to shame” nor be disappointed with His portion.

“Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.”  Psalm 25:3 NKJV



Monday, December 3, 2012

Persecution Summary Part II

We cannot control the ones who anger or hurt us.  But we can manage control over our response – because anger is a choice ...that can easily slip into a habit.

You will overcome anger or hate when you really appreciate and understand grace.

The cure for hate is to know you have the capability to hate.

Do you recognize hate in your own life? You might argue that hate is such a harsh word.  It is harsh when we want to live in denial.

How about anger?

It’s hard for some to believe that they need forgiveness from God.

Many times they take forgiveness for granted and don’t believe it was a big deal for God to forgive them!  They feel they deserve it!

They were never really convinced that they were living in sin and the result is they do not love others as completely and fully as they have the potential!

The key to forgiving others is to quit focusing on what they did to you and start focusing on what God did for you.

The hate of people who refused to acknowledge His love is what nailed Jesus to the cross.

God wants to set you free of hate, prejudice, racism, bitterness, addictions, lies, deception, anger and revenge!

 God hates sin – and He sent His Son to break the power of hate and anger that is destroying us, our families and our communities!

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”  John 8:36 NKJV

Most of us endure persecution within our own circle of family, friends and co-workers.   We are persecuted because they are enslaved in bondage to their sin whatever it may be: hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, greed, lust, addictions, lies and deception. 

We must bear our cross and believe that God will empower us to pray them through to salvation and walk in the confidence of knowing He will never ask us to endure more that what we can bear.

Finally, we must obey Him in whatever He tells us to do regarding that situation or person(s) because He has a plan to bring them out of bondage.  Our obedience is the key to that plan.   We can do our part to pray them through or we can disobey and be an obstacle to their deliverance.

It is only those who know God and know His Word; who have committed their lives into His hands; who have given up their own lives and found His; who trust God with their life; who can say with Paul, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”; who will be willing to endure the hardships of persecution for the joy of what lies before them.

“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”  Matthew 10:22























Sunday, December 2, 2012

Persecution Summary Part I

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.  The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.

 Do you remember what I told you?  ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’  Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.

They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.  They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.  Anyone who hates me also hates my Father.

If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father.  This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’”   John 15:16-25 NLT


We would think that the miracles, signs and healings would confirm to the world that Jesus is!

But many refused to accept Him! It seems ridiculous!

John 15:24 says, “If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin.  But now they have seen and hated both Me and My Father.”

 Yes, it was hate that nailed Jesus to the cross!
They hated the idea of having to change!

They hated the idea that they may be wrong!

They hated that to which Jesus called us: to repentance, to change, to forgive, to service, humility and love.

Yes, Jesus knew the hate of the people. But He also knew what it was to hate.

Are you surprised Jesus hated, too?   

He hates sin.  He hates injustice. He hates it when people are cheated unfairly. He hates it when we refuse the best God has for us.  

He hates it when people reject God’s freedom and choose to live with sin and guilt and shame. He hates when we choose wrong!

He hates the wrong.  Why? 

Because the wrong we choose can alienate us from Him. The lies we tell, the cheating we cover up, fear, doubt and deception moves us further and further away from Him. He does NOT hate the wrong doer, but He hates the wrong we do.

Because the inferior choices separate us from the superior place He made for you and me!

So Jesus knows what it means to hate.

Do you want to hate like Jesus?  Then hate the sin.  Hate the sin that tries to destroy the relationship He wants with you.
Hate sin so much that you want righteousness!

Hate sin so much that you cannot stand to be around it!

Hate sin because it robs you of His peace and relationship in your life.
Jesus said, “You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,” (vs.19).

Strangely enough, people do not recognize hatred as a form of “relating.”  They believe “relationships” refer to positive bonds and friendly affections.  Yet, because they hate someone, these same people have trouble sleeping, they are easily irritated, they think up ways to get revenge, they fall prey to addictions and have trouble focusing on their work. Whether they like it or not, they can be totally preoccupied with the object of their hate. Their whole life is focused more intensely on hate for that person(s) than if they loved the person.

Hate ties you into a relationship.   Hate kills!  And I’m not just talking about how hate killed Jesus.  Hatred kills the one Jesus loves: I’m talking about you and me!